Sanday Chongo Kabange in Hong Kong
Violent and bloody clashes have erupted in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka less than two weeks before Zambians elect a new and firth president.
Supporters of the governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) clashed Friday within Lusaka’s Central Business District, disrupting business for close to two hours.
Main city central highways like Lumumba, Freedom Way, Ben Bella and Chachacha Roads were blocked as they turned into battle grounds likened only to Libya’s Benghazi unrest.
The clashes in Lusaka erupted over the removal of rival campaign posters by the cadres of the two political parties.
Unconfirmed reports say one person has been killed in the election standoff that has tensed up the mood in the southern Africa state.
Supporters of the opposition PF are claiming that one of its supporters was killed by MMD cadres in a nearby south-western slum of Kanyama and this prompted the riots.
The claim of the death by the PF is yet to be confirmed.
Business was interrupted and shops were closed as business operators and residents ran for cover amid mass unrest in the Zambian capital.
Some cadres are said to have possessed machetes and other dangerous weapons.
Fears of looting have heightened and police have since been placed on high alert.
No arrests have been made, reported one private radio station in Lusaka.
Zambia Police spokesperson Ndandula Siamana has warned that any person perpetrating violence during and after the September 20 vote would face the law.
For the first time in Zambia’s election history, the U.S State Department has warned its citizens to be alert when getting into Zambia during the election period as signs of violent polls were eminent.